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Seven Things You Should Know About Disney Infinity

Brendan Griffiths
children's games, Disney, Disney Infinity, Family games, John Day, Monsters University, Pixar

Seven Things You Should Know About Disney Infinity

What is it?

In a similar way to Skylanders, you place plastic toys on a docking station plugged into your console and those toys will appear on-screen allowing the player to use them in-game in specific Playsets.

Characters are linked to Playsets, specific stages based around famous Disney films or locations. John Day told us more at a recent hands-on event:

In a given Playset you experience a single universe in a really immersive way. So when you play in Cars, you play as a Cars character you do things that makes sense to Cars like racing or building up the town of radiator springs. And if you play in the Pirates of the Caribbean Playset you get a very different experience, you play as a Pirate’s character, you get a pirate ship you sail the high seas, you fight the Kraken, the Kraken eats you, that’s what happens in Pirates. The two never really cross over, Jack sparrow will never go into the Cars Playset and McQueen will never go into the Pirates Playset."

Essentially a Playset is a campaign; it’s the main meat of a game that, until now, would be a separately released product on a disc.

Seven Things You Should Know About Disney Infinity

What’s in the starter pack?

A lot. The game itself for your chosen platform and the Infinity Base (the docking station for the toys). You’ll also get three Playsets for Monster’s University, Pirates of the Caribbean and The Incredibles, so three games in one essentially.

To play in these worlds you also get one character for each film in the form of Sulley, Jack Sparrow and Mr. Incredible. You’ll also get your first power disc -more on those later- and some codes to unlock online web content.

Seven Things You Should Know About Disney Infinity

It’s going to be expensive to start with

The above pack is £60. Which in undeniably a lot for an unproven gaming franchise, but Disney’s John Day is keen to defend the game’s pricing policies as he told the BBC:

“I think the value proposition here is really quite good because normally, when Disney releases a new film, there would be another game associated with that that would be upwards of £50. But with Infinity, we can still deliver that additional content moving forward, and for these Playset packs - which are, in their own right, an entire game - the recommended retail price is going to be closer to £30. So you can actually get £50 worth of stuff at a substantial discount."

Ok, so a few points to address there. You’ll rarely pay £40 for any game today, especially with our keen deal hunting. I think for a children’s tie-in game, £30 is closer to the mark. So far, I’ve seen pre-orders for the starter pack at £53-£60 and additional Playsets for Cars and The Lone Ranger at £29-£35. These extra sets come with two different figures from the same film.

Extra characters that are sold separately are also surprisingly expensive at £11-£15 each or slightly discounted when bought in a triple pack. In an age of DLC it seems like a big ask for to buy a toy just to stick on a docking station for it to appear in a video game.

Seven Things You Should Know About Disney Infinity

It will replace regular Disney tie-in games

Don’t expect to see as many Disney-related video-game tie-ins in the future. Chances are they’ll be getting their own Playset for Disney Infinity instead. If the prices can come down a little after the game’s initial launch period this could provide an overall cheaper alternative to parents who regularly buy these games for their kids.

Seven Things You Should Know About Disney Infinity

Two Player Playset Co-op, but you’ll need to pay more

This is a bit cheeky really and could cause disappointment at Christmas for anyone just buying the starter pack. For the Playsets, you can only play with characters related to that universe, all of which are sold separately from the starter pack.

So to add Mike to the game for Monsters University or Dash to The Incredibles for the second player, you’re going to have to fork out an extra £11-£15.

Seven Things You Should Know About Disney Infinity

So much multiplatform content

In better news, the toys, Playsets, user-generated content (check out my hands-on report of the game’s level designer) and power discs will all work on any platform. This is great for players taking toys to friends’ houses who may not have the same console and sharing created stages across one huge library can only be a good thing.

We’re a bit confused about the Playsets that are sold separately being multiplatform though. Does that mean the first two are already on the main disc or will they be patched on, along with every future release until we input a code? We imagine a multi-format code will be entered from a main menu to activate content rather than the usual XBLA/PSN codes.

Seven Things You Should Know About Disney Infinity

Power Discs

Producer John Day, told us more about another expense that parents can be expected to look forward to:

“Some of these toys live specifically on what we call Power Discs. These are going to be available in blind packs of two. You’ll be purchasing these but you won’t know what got until you’ve got it. Some of these Power Discs change the way the world looks. This is the Power Disc from the sky from Finding Nemo, so I place this on the base and lose my sunny blue sky [in the game’s Toy Box create mode] and now I’ve got the reef from the background and now it looks like I’m underwater and I can stack these up to three high on the base. So using all these things might change how the game looks.”

Discs can also give you extra vehicles in addition to palette themes. Or you may get physical booster ones for extra health, extra loot or extra damage. These packs will sell for £3.99, which when you’ve no idea what you’re getting could be a tough pill to swallow, it’s hardly comparable to the price of footy stickers. I imagine eBay will become flooded with players wishing to trade, especially with the promise of rare discs to be found in some packs too.

We can’t wait to play more of Disney Infinity, but we are of course worried about the amount of money we could sink into it. I’m just grateful I don’t have any kids. Although, Disney have just announced a Toy Story Playset, so I’m going to have to get stuck in. So what about you readers? Do you fancy it? Ditching Skylanders for this? Has this caught the eyes of your children yet?

Add a comment2 comments
Late  Aug. 13, 2013 at 13:38

I fancy we're going to see more of these - the whole premise has success written all over it.

At around a tenner each, additional characters make great stocking fillers for your kids, or gifts for your friends/relatives' kids.
It adds up to a cubic f*cktonne of money flowing in to the publisher's bank, so they're happy.
It means new game content and a new tradable collectible toy for the kids, so they're happy.
And it's an affordable* option the aunties and uncles of this world can buy, that'll keep the little 'uns happy, bring some value, and not break the bank.

If you want everything it's going to cost you an absolute fortune. But in incremental payments, at your (or more accurately your parents') convenience - and folk are more likely to spend silly money when it's a little bit here and a little bit there. Almost microtransactions.

And whilst you could easily compare the powerdiscs and character packs to DLC (pay a bit more, get more content), it's worth bearing in mind you can sell and trade these items. You can't do that with most game dlc. So you could play the additional content but then sell the character and recoup some of the costs.

They've also got the marketing sussed (taking specifically about Disney now rather than the product in general). My wife was talking about this game/toy/set/universe/whatever yesterday, and she's not remotely interested in gaming. She saw it on some tv show. And of course Disney have got any number of perfect avenues for advertising and promoting it.

All in all, I'm very impressed. Whoever came up with this (presumably someone who worked on Skylanders) deserves to be a very wealthy person.
Damn but I'm so glad my kids are a bit older and not much interested in gaming.

I'm still expecting some gizmo to hit the market at some point, though, that'll allow you to fool sensors on the docking station into thinking you have every character available. The smart money is on it coming from the far east.

*affordable is a very subjective term, of course, so probably the wrong word to use there.

Last edited by Late, Aug. 13, 2013 at 13:44
JonLester  Aug. 13, 2013 at 13:45

This will print money if and when Disney starts pumping out Star Wars and/or Marvel playsets. I will happily pay to see Wolverine and Jack Sparrow taking on Darth Vader - even if it's just in the toy box mode.

Last edited by JonLester, Aug. 13, 2013 at 14:08

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